Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Overcoming Eating Disorders

Some of my followers might be surprised to learn that I've struggled with eating disorders over the years.  Some won't be.  Mostly I've dealt with binge eating disorder, but had a struggle with anorexia then bulimic behavior in high school.  And then the restrictive diets, like South Beach, or Weight Watchers, or anything else low-cal, or low-carb, or whatever ... Those restrictions led to more binging.  The carbohydrate addicts diet promoted "limited" binging.  (Incidentally, I think that should be spelled bingeing, but most of the eating disorder people I know spell it binging and that is how some spell checks recognize it, but I think that would be pronounced like ringing ... but for convention's sake, I am spelling it binging.  oooo.  Maybe it's like cringing.  That is making my OCD a little happier.)  I digress.  My metabolism has been all sorts of screwed up from this behavior.  

Anyway.  I've been learning about disordered thinking when it relates to food.  Just one example I recently posted on a forum:  "I make amazing raspberry jam.  We have several half pints I made last fall.  But I never let myself eat it.  Because it's full of sugar!  But I'll eat a bag of candy without thinking twice.  WTH?  I just made myself two pieces of toast with white bread, TYVM, added butter and raspberry jam, and am rather enjoying myself.  Sometimes, the extent of my disordered thinking really hits me upside the head."

And you know what?  My 3-year-old had to help me finish the toast.  She would rather have white milk than chocolate, fruit over candy, and water over juice.  And she loved the jam.  She is perfect just how she is, and I'd like to keep it that way.  Which means *I* need to get my head on straight.

Over the last 7-8 months, I have given myself permission to eat whatever I want.  Without guilt.  Without punishing myself.  Without feeling like crap mentally because I ate a pound of chocolate, but paying attention to how I felt physically.  (A pound of chocolate in one sitting is not on my list of things to do again.)  Several months into the process, I found  Amber (go kaleo) discusses eating disorders and disordered thinking, and I've been learning more and more about myself as time goes on.

If, while reading this, you think that me eating whatever I want means all I eat is junk food, that is because you think that all YOU would eat is junk food if you didn't restrict yourself.  And if you think that, at the very least, you have disordered thinking, but more than likely?  You have an eating disorder.  (And there's the elephant in the room.)

Since I started this path and got a month or two into it, I have been eating more veggies.  I am enjoying salads and veggies again, for their own sake, not because I am "supposed" to eat them.  I eat more fruit.  I eat quality ice cream.  I eat lean proteins, fatty proteins, nuts, avocados, pasta, rice, and whatever else my body needs that day.  I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm satisfied.  I'm not binging anymore.  I'm not crashing from blood sugar problems anymore.  I'm not exhausted all the time.  Oh yeah, I'm sleeping better.  I yell less.  My skin has cleared up.  My hair is healthier.  My workouts are AWESOME.  I'm lifting heavier, walking farther, and feel a swagger in my step.  I'm making more milk than the baby is currently drinking -- that's a new sort of problem I haven't had before.

In addition, last week, I found a package of Oreos in the pantry that was open and only 1/3 gone.  I wasn't the one who opened the package and I didn't eat the ones that were gone.  I also didn't finish off the package, just because it was open.  (They don't love my stomach, but I used to binge on them regularly anyway because they are tasty.)  I found a package of Kit Kat minis that was mostly full and had been that way for about a month.  There are a few cartons of ice cream in my freezer that I have not touched.  There is an open bag of corn chips in the pantry and a mostly full jar of queso in the fridge.  Not because I am not supposed to eat any of this stuff, but I have taken my power back from the food -- if I want it, I will eat it, and my body will let me know when it's enough.  And if I don't want it, I don't have to eat it and, more than likely, I won't.

p.s.  Outside of my religious convictions and food intolerances, the *only* food item I will restrict ever again is soda because it is really not good for us, and I feel so much better without it.  Josh at posted a good entry on that not too long ago.  Highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

We moved late last fall, and there were dead branches sticking out of the ground in the back and side yards.  They were hideous.  I told my husband that i wanted them torn out, and he agreed.

We didn't touch them as we had other things going on.

Spring came, and they turned out to be lilac bushes.  Beautiful lilacs!  some of the wood is dead and needs to be trimmed, but honestly ... I hesitate to do so.  There are beautiful birds who have their homes in those same bushes, and I love watching them and hearing their songs.  We'd be missing the songs and the sights of the baby birds jumping around from bush to bush if we'd gone with my first impulse, to tear the dead branches out by the roots.

I've been pondering how sometimes, I don't like how my body looks.  I don't like how my relationships look from the outside.  I don't like how hard things are at times.  And I don't like how stressed out I get.

So I'm trying to find the beauty in those things.  My body may not be anyone's ideal body, but it has carried 4 babies, birthed them, and continued feeding them.  My husband likes me and likes my body, so that's always a bonus.  Our relationship isn't perfect, but the sweet things he does are like those sweet little songs:  Like when he tucks me into bed when I'm overwhelmed and tired.  Or when he gave me a hug today and said, "Your hips are getting smaller!"  and they are.  And it's hard to be the mom to all these kids, and there are times we don't get along and my 5yo says, "I'm not your favorite anymore!"  Or my teen says, "You hate me!"  But then there are those other times, like when I get hurt and my 5yo cuddles me and kisses my owie better.  Or I'm crying and my teen knows just what to do to help -- and does it.  Or the baby's grin every single time he sees me.  He has a special smile, just for me.  The 3yo gets so excited when I come in the house, even if I've just been outside for less than 2 minutes, turning the sprinklers on.  "MOM!  You back!!!!!"  Those things are just so beautiful, so amazing.

So in the midst of all the stress and the difficult things and the bad days, I'm striving to remember those lilac bushes and the little birds, so that I can appreciate the beautiful people, the wonderful little things, and the amazing blessings I receive every day.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dear "Bros" in the Gym:

I used the power rack at the gym today.  I realize that is traditionally male-only equipment, but you know what, I don't give a crap what you all think of me.  I realize I outweigh all of you, and I realize you can all out-lift me.  I'm new on this journey, and I'm fine with where I am.

I am OK with setting up the rack and my own weights.  I am just fine handling all of that on my own.  I don't need your pity or your help setting up my equipment.

I am not OK with how many of you tried to intimidate me today.  I am not OK with the blatant staring, snickers, and sidelong glances while I completed my sets.

After I finished using the rack, I re-racked my plates and barbell.  And you all just kept watching.  Maybe because none of you re-racks your equipment.  Maybe ...

But then?  When I was working in a different area of the gym entirely, one of you came over and dropped 110 pound dumbbells right next to me.  Literally dropped them.  Next to me.

Can you read the sign that says not to drop them?  Just to re-rack them?

No?  Oh, OK.  You're too busy trying to intimidate a woman for daring to leave the cardio machines and enter the man-zone.

And then there was the butt head who had to "fix" his dumbbell.  On the bench I had just been using.  Right next to my face.

His friend got after him for that one, and for that, I thank the friend.

Hey, jerk faces, I pay the same fees you do to use the gym.  I have every right to use the equipment without being harassed.  And it's none of your business whether I'm fat or "thick" or what my goals are, which are to get stronger and lose fat.  So I lift the weights.  And I'm not worried about what you think of me.

So do the world a favor and get over yourselves, because I'm not going anywhere.  And guess what?  I'm encouraging every woman I know to go to the weight room at her gym too.  You just might find yourselves outnumbered.  Some day.